The first day, he quit on two separate occasions. This is not weird in any way. It would be like if you had just gotten a job and your job was to be kicked over and over in places ill-suited to jostling. You would say, “Maybe this isn’t for me.” Then I got this text:
I didn’t really want to tell him how to feel about it, I just wanted him to know that there was another camera on this scene and it was returning the same data. He had unquit, but encouragement wasn’t what he needed; what he needed was to succeed. I got this shortly thereafter:
That’s it. That is what people come to these games for; to seize the whip from your tormentor and choke him to death with it. The “lows” in this game are the lows of the cemetery - of the grave-yard. They are subterranean lows; their altitude is represented by a negative number. They describe half an arc, and when you earn its upper equal, its bright sister, you may not know entirely how to contextualize the sensation. It is not joy. And that’s why I don’t super understand why I’m seeing this game written about everywhere. This is the least mainstream game there is. It’s the interactive, electronic equivalent of BDSM and the audience for it can’t possibly match the fevered coverage. But I welcome anyone who wants to test the flesh of their palm against its edge.
Multiplayer doesn’t work in these games the way it works in other games. You don’t invite your friend to your game and then they come help you. Everything is very ritualistic, tied into the underlying narrative and systems, so I can’t open the Multiplayer Menu and choose from a list of friendly names and then win. I will tell you that we tried last night to have him pop in to my game, and it didn’t work. If it were any other game, I would say, “Well, that’s some bullshit. Patch it, you fucks.” But I tried to bring him to me by ringing a bell, and he rang his answering bell; we put a “password” in to make sure we joined each other, as opposed to a rando. He never showed up, which I chalked up to the strange fluctuations of bell magic.
The game is about being alone; even inviting another person to help you is also simultaneously, inviting strangers to come into your game and kill you. You are merely opening the door. If I tried to summon a person from a parallel dimension this afternoon, say, it probably wouldn’t work a hundred percent of the time. What’s strange is that I still felt, and feel, as though we were playing together; there is suffering enough to go around and it is the same suffering, but because we cannot share it, it is doubled on both sides. People leave messages for each other, helpful messages, troll messages, all of it. We’re waist deep in shit, and we are all alone, together.